Getting the measure of Johnson

Boris Johnson’s declarations of humility, or rather shamility, lasted as long as it took for Tory MPs to shuffle out of the Commons and coo over an elderly royal. The real scandal here, according to Glasgow Tory group leader Thomas Kerr, is not that his party is led by a serial liar and law breaker whose attitude towards standards in public office is much the same as his attitudes towards Downing Street itself, something that you can vomit all over and then refuse to take any responsibility for, it’s that Glesca Cooncil have much the same view of the Jubilee as the large majority of the city’s citizens, something that they have as much interest in as Boris Johnson does of accepting that he ought to resign in disgrace. That’s why the council has taken the sensible decision, much to the disgust of Thomas Kerr, not to put on any official events to celebrate an obscenely wealthy and privileged woman with access to the very best health care making it into her mid-nineties, something which is a lot easier to achieve when you don’t have to worry about the heating bill for your palaces.

Actually while we are on the subject of Thomas Kerr, given that the Conservatives lost all but two of their seats on Glasgow at the recent local authority elections, it’s a bit of a stretch to call him the leader of the Conservative “group”, that’s a bit like calling a scary clown hiding in a storm drain the Cirque du Soleil. Although a pair of scary clowns hiding in storm drains is a fairly accurate summary of the Conservatives in Glasgow.

Anyway, despite the desperate hype of the British nationalist media, which is to say most of it, trying to persuade us against the evidence of our own eyes and ears that “the whole country” is consumed with jubilee fever, “the whole country” in this instance clearly does not include Scotland. For the most part people in Scotland feel that wasting £1.3 billion of public money on a Jubilee ego-trip, while millions of families are struggling, is nothing to celebrate. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, there are 1.5 million people in the UK who are destitute and unable to afford basic essentials. That £1.3 billion could have been spent on giving those people over £850 each. The Queen has spent millions to bail out Andrew from his legal difficulties. Yet she won’t spare a penny for those struggling right now or donate to food banks. Instead Buckingham Palace seeks staff who are willing to accept less than the minimum wage, because the royal household has exemption from that legislation.

You can see this for yourself on the official jubilee online guide to enforced nationalist jollity which has an interactive map allowing you to find the jubilee street party nearest to you. On this map Scotland appears like a map of water parks in the Sahara. There are hundreds of events listed in every region of England, but as soon as you get to Scotland there is only a handful of events listed, most of which are like the Jubilee party listed for Parkhead in Glasgow, an area represented by a certain Thomas Kerr on the cooncil, which describes itself as a “Feck the Queen party”, or the “Sharpen your guillotine” event listed for the city’s West End. Meanwhile over in Edinburgh there’s a “Lock up your daughters in case Prince Andrew visits” party.

The official jubilee website primly notes that there are fewer neighbourhood street parties in Scotland because there are different laws in Scotland about closing off public streets. Aye, right uh-huh, that will be the reason.

The second that Parliament went into recess so that MPs could bugger off to a jubilee street party in their constituency, or in the case of the Scottish Tories to blame the lack of them on the vile SNP and not a complete lack of Caledonian interest, Johnson showed us just how much humility he really had about the damning findings of the Sue Gray report by announcing some changes to the ministerial code. Meanwhile questions continue to be asked about the extent to which Johnson leaned on Sue Gray to remove some of the most damaging material from her report. The new Johnsonian ministerial code no longer requires members of the government to behave with honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability, Johnson has removed those injunctions from the foreword, the kindest explanation is that it was because he doesn’t know what any of those words mean.

The amended rules make it clear that ministers will no longer always be expected to resign if they have been found to breach the code of conduct. Under new sanctions, they could apologise or temporarily lose their pay instead. Although making an apology is not a sanction. It is the minimum you should do when incurring a genuine sanction. It’s not a sanction, it is merely an acknowledgement of wrong doing. It is telling indeed that Johnson thinks that having to apologise is punishment enough. Johnson has also blocked his independent ethics chief, Christopher Geidt, from gaining the power to launch his own investigations, Johnson reserves to himself the right to start any investigations into his own behaviour. It’s a shocking indictment of the lack of democratic safeguards in what passes for a British constitution. If you are a lying law-breaking Prime Minister who is worried about being found to be in breach of the ministerial code, just rewrite the ministerial code so that it allows you to keep lying and breaking the law with impunity.

But never mind any of that, we have a jubilee and union flags everywhere, and if you complain about the descent of Britain into a corrupt flag bedecked authoritarian nationalism, in fact all those things that the Conservatives accuse the SNP of, it’s just because you’re a vile lefty remainer who hates Britain. We might not have an honest or accountable British Government, but we do have the reintroduction of Imperial measurements as a jubilee Brexit benefit. After six years and the trashing of international treaties, at a cost of £440m in lost trade per week, here you have it – the one and only Brexit benefit. You can now weigh things in pounds and ounces, and measure liquids in fluid ounces. With the number of dead cat tactics that Johnson and his government constantly throw about, it’s a wonder the RSPCA hasn’t launched an investigation. every time Johnson has something he wants to bury, he says something stupid as a distraction. A bridge to Ireland anyone?

Proof, as if more proof was needed, that the UK is an unending shitshow of mortifying fuckwittery. What’s next? The return of pounds shillings and pence, national service and the birch? You couldn’t put it past this shower of evil clowns in storm drains. That’s where Douglas Ross is currently hiding in case someone asks him about the changes to the ministerial code, although that someone is unlikely to be BBC Scotland. Whether it’s feet and inches or metres and centimetres, we all have got the measure of Johnson. He is still a lying law-breaker no matter how you measure it.

There can now be no remaining doubt that the UK and the Westminster Parliament is utterly incapable of reform. The Labour party is complicit with the Tories by continuing to peddle the fantasy that the UK can be reformed. It can’t. There is only one way that Scotland can get a government that the people of Scotland can hold to account, by becoming a normal independent nation.

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